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 Lars Gustav Sellstedt  (1819 - 1911)

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Lived/Active: New York / Sweden      Known for: portrait, harbors, some landscape painting

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Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:

The following information is from The Winterthur Library, whose Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera houses collectible items of Lars Sellstedt.

Lars Gustaf Sellstedt was a portrait, landscape, and marine painter.  He was born in Sundsvall, Sweden, on April 30, 1819.  At the age of 11, Sellstedt became a cabin-boy on a Swedish trading vessel and worked as a merchant seaman until 1845, when he settled in Buffalo, New York.  Sellstedt took a studio and began his career as a portrait painter. 

In 1850, he married Louise Lovejoy and they lived in New York City for a brief period of time; she died a few years later in Buffalo.  In 1853, Sellstedt visited Stockholm, but returned to Buffalo and married Caroline Scott in 1856.  Their home became a center of artistic activity.

Sellstedt helped to arrange an art exhibition in 1861 that led to the establishment of the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy; he served as its president in 1876 and 1877.  In 1872, Sellstedt sent his self-portrait to the National Academy of Design; it won a commendation from Daniel Huntington and led to his election as an associate. 

In 1875, he became a National Academician.  Sellstedt was active in the Saturn and Liberal Clubs of Buffalo.  In 1904, he published his autobiography From Forecastle to Academy: Sailor and Artist and in 1910, Art in Buffalo. 

Sellstedt died on June 4, 1911.


The collection consists of 28 photographs of Sellstedt, family members, friends, and house interiors.  Interior shots feature ornate Victorian furniture, a piano, oriental rugs, and fireplaces.  Several of the photographs of family and friends show the exterior of Sellstedt's home in the background.  Two of the shots show Sellstedt and three friends playing cards; another features Sellstedt and a woman (his wife?) playing chess.  There is a tintype of a young man and three women.  In another photo, three men are cooking or drying fish over an open fire.  Also included is a postcard from the Peabody Institute Library acknowledging a gift made by Sellstedt, and a print of a crucifixion scene painted by Sellstedt, with a note on the back.  As well, the collection contains six Valentine greetings in the form of verse addressed to Caroline Scott; one is dated 1848.


This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Lars Gustaf Sellstedt (1819 -- 1911)

The first of his Swedish ethnic group to be elected to the National Academy of Design*, which occurred in 1875, Sellstedt was born in Sundsvall and immigrated to America in 1834 where he worked as a sailor on the great Lakes.

He settled in Buffalo, New York in 1842, and although primarily self-taught, was the founder, director, and later president of the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy*.

He published two books, From Forecastle to Academy, Sailor and Artist (1904, and Art in Buffalo (1910).

His landscapes are in the collection of the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo.

Submitted by Edward P. Bentley, Art Researcher, East Lansing, Michigan

Mary Towley Swanson. Tangled Web: Immigrant Swedish, Artists' Patronage Systems,
. 2004.

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see Glossary

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at
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